Volleyball Looks to Clinch OVC Tourney Berth This Weekend
Nov. 11, 2004
CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. - (Thursday, November 11, 2004) The Southeast Missouri State volleyball team will wrap up the 2004 regular season this weekend when they host conference opponents Murray State on Friday evening and Tennessee-Martin on Saturday evening. Both matches are slated to start at 7:00 P.M. and will be played in Houck Fieldhouse.
Southeast (9-16, 7-7 OVC) currently sits in third place, but are tied with Tennessee-Martin and need at least one win this weekend to secure an Ohio Valley Conference Tournament berth. Currently Southeast would be in the tournament as the sixth and final seed behind Tennessee-Martin. On Southeast heels for a tournament berth is Morehead State and Tennessee Tech each with an OVC record of 7-8. Southeast has won eight of their last 12 matches to put them in position to make the tourney. Two wins this weekend would clinch the fifth seed and perhaps knock Tennessee-Martin from the tournament.
Jessica Koeper (Jackson, MO/Jackson) is coming off a career match against Morehead State this past Saturday. She recorded her first career 20/20 game when she recorded 22 kills and 20 digs against the Eagles. It was her 5th 20-kill match and 3rd 20-dig match of the season. She hit a season-high .373, recording only three attacking errors. The 20/20 match was her team-leading 15th double-double of the season.
Sophomore setter Jamie Baumstark (Hermann, MO/Hermann) is also on fire for Southeast. In the Morehead State match she had 53 assists, her 11th 40 or more assist match of the season. She also served a season-high six service aces. Baumstark leads the OVC in aces at 0.59 per game and ranks 26th in the nation.
Saturday's match marks the last home match for two Southeast players. Seniors Kristen McElroy (Olathe, KS/Gardner-Edgerton) and Ashley Smith (DeSoto, MO/Jefferson College) will be honored before Saturday's match for their contributions to the Southeast volleyball program.
Team captain McElroy served in the important role as the back-up setter and libero this season. Smith saw her senior season cut short by an injury. The right side hitter was on her way to a career season and was amongst the OVC leaders in blocks before the injury.
Last years OVC Champion Murray State (6-15, 3-11 OVC) has struggled mightly this season after losing three of their top players. They have finished the season strong however, winning their last two matches, including a 3-1 win over Tennessee State on Tuesday. Senior Kimberly Bunnage recorded 22 kills and 22 digs against the Tigers. Southeast defeated the Racers on October 23rd, 3-1.
It's been the complete opposite for Tennessee-Martin. The Skyhawks have lost three in a row, including a 3-1 loss to Belmont on Tuesday. The Skyhawks are one the top defensive teams in the OVC, they lead the conference in blocks at 2.58 per game which has led to opponents to a .165 hitting percentage. Rebecca Palmer and Kathryn Sprague are the OVC leaders in blocks at 1.24 per game. Southeast lost to the Skyhawks on October 22nd in three games.